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By Abraham Malinga

Dr. Eddy Turyateemba, the Assistant Commissioner of Vocational Education at the Ministry of Education & Sports, has called on accountants to embrace Technical and Vocational Education and Training (TVET) to drive economic growth and transformation. Speaking at the 12th ICPAU Economic Forum, Dr. Turyateemba emphasized the crucial role of technical skills in fostering self-reliance, increasing productivity, and enhancing national income.

"The government of Uganda recognizes that effective technical skills are vital not only for individuals and enterprises but for the entire economy," Dr. Turyateemba remarked. He underscored the detrimental impact of a skills shortage, which hampers the ability to address socio-economic challenges, slows national transformation, and delays progress towards modern living standards.

Dr. Turyateemba highlighted the potential of TVET to boost productivity and competitiveness across various sectors, including agriculture, tourism, manufacturing, construction, and services. He explained that TVET institutions provide practical, hands-on skills tailored to industry needs, ensuring that graduates are equipped with relevant and up-to-date expertise.

"TVET can empower productive sectors by delivering skills directly applicable to industry requirements," he said. "These institutions work closely with industries to stay abreast of the latest trends and technologies, enhancing their relevance and impact. Furthermore, TVET fosters entrepreneurship, innovation, creativity, problem-solving, and critical thinking."

However, Dr. Turyateemba acknowledged significant challenges facing the TVET sector. These include limited access, equity, and quality of programs, as well as negative perceptions and low status associated with TVET. He noted that many view TVET as a last resort rather than a preferred career path. Additional obstacles include a shortage of practically trained trainers, weak private sector involvement in apprenticeships and training, inadequate infrastructure, outdated curricula, and the absence of a National Qualifications Framework.

To address these issues, Dr. Turyateemba called for concerted efforts from both the public and private sectors. He emphasized the need for curriculum reforms to keep pace with technological advancements and industry needs, greater investment in TVET infrastructure and equipment, and stronger partnerships between TVET institutions and industries.

In his closing remarks, Dr. Turyateemba urged accountants and other professionals to champion TVET as a key driver of Uganda's economic development. By embracing technical and vocational education, Uganda can build a skilled workforce capable of meeting the demands of modern industries and accelerating the nation's journey towards sustainable growth and prosperity.